Pakistan reports lowest coronavirus deaths since April amid Eid Al-Adha celebrations

In this picture taken on July 22, 2020, a man wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus shops at the Raja Bazar in Rawalpindi. (AFP)
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Updated 03 August 2020

Pakistan reports lowest coronavirus deaths since April amid Eid Al-Adha celebrations

  • Officials have already said the country may witness another spike in infections after Eid Al-Adha, Muharram
  • PM Khan, President Alvi have urged the public to exercise caution while observing the Muslim festival

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday reported its lowest single-day fatality count since April, with 27 coronavirus deaths recorded in the past 24 hours, as the country marked the second day of the Eid Al-Adha festival.
According to the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 portal, as of Sunday, the national caseload stood at 279,699 while 5,976 people had died from the disease.
Out of the total number of infections recorded, 2,086 were from Azad Jammu and Kashmir, 2,157 from Gilgit-Baltistan, 15,052 from Islamabad, 34,160 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 11,762 from Balochistan, while 93,173 were from Punjab and 121,309 from Sindh.
There was also an uptick in recoveries, with 248,577 cases recorded thus far. 
There are reports of a gradual decline in the overall infection rate in the country, and local hospitals, which lacked space for COVID-19 patients until recently, are beginning normalize their operations.
However, government officials have already warned that the country may witness another spike in the coronavirus cases after Eid Al-Adha and Muharram.
Muslims across Pakistan began their Eid celebrations on Saturday amid COVID-19 restrictions even as Prime Minister Imran Khan had urged the public to celebrate the festival with “simplicity” to prevent a spike in cases. 
“Take all precautionary measures on Eid Al-Adha while performing the obligatory rituals of Qurbani (slaughter animals) and include the poor and needy in the celebration,” he said in a statement on Saturday. 
He was joined by President Arif Alvi who said the pandemic had been “largely controlled with government policies and public discipline,” before asking people to “avoid crowded bazaars and cattle markets on Eid.” 
The two leaders’ messages follow increased security measures across the country with authorities working round the clock to ensure that Pakistan remains on track in flattening the curve. 
This is after several people had flouted social distancing rules and flocked to mosques and markets during Eid Al-Fitr in May, resulting in a significant surge in COVID-19 cases across the country. 
The spike in cases had prompted the World Health Organization to call for new lockdowns across Pakistan.


Pakistan thanks Saudi Arabia for supporting it in 'difficult times'

Updated 27 min 17 sec ago

Pakistan thanks Saudi Arabia for supporting it in 'difficult times'

  • Minister Shibli Faraz says the country cannot run independent foreign policy until it gains economic strength
  • Claims Pakistan’s economy has improved in the last two years due to the government’s prudent policies

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz thanked Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for always rescuing his country in difficult times while dismissing rumors of any differences between the two countries.
“Saudi Arabia has always been with us and we are thankful to them,” the minister said while briefing reporters here in Islamabad on various decisions made during the federal cabinet meeting earlier in the day that was chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The minister said the Kingdom was a brotherly country that had “always stood by us in difficult times.”
He said that a lot of Pakistani labor was working in the Kingdom, adding that the two holiest sites of Islam were also located in the same country.
To a question about the reported return of $1 billion to Saudi Arabia, he said that the money taken as a loan. “It was taken and returned. This is not in our interest to link it [the loan issue] to other things,” he said.
Saudi Arabia extended a $6.2 billion financial package, including $3 billion cash as a soft loan and $3.2 billion of deferred oil payment facility, to Pakistan in November 2018 to help the country stave off its balance of payments crisis.
The minister said that the world was moving toward readjustment as the world order was changing, especially in the last few years.
Faraz said that like every other country, “Pakistan as a sovereign state will work in the direction and pursue objectives that reinforce its national interests.”
He also added that the country could not run an independent foreign policy without acquiring adequate economic strength.
Talking about the government’s economic achievements in the last two years, he said that Pakistan’s current account deficit was brought down from $20 billion to $3 billion while the central bank’s reserves had increased from $8.5 billion to $12.5 billion due to prudent economic policies.
The minister informed that sales of cement, fertilizers, diesel and petrol had increased many times in the last two years, reflecting an improvement of the country’s fragile economy.
He noted that the coronavirus pandemic had not hit the country’s economy as hard as other countries in the region.
“The economic revival has started … Difficult times have almost passed and better days are right ahead of us,” the minister claimed.